Building on formal guidance issued last fall by the Chief of Space Operations to “Create a Digital Service to Accelerate Innovation,” a new document outlining U.S. Space Force’s “Vision for a Digital Service” was released today. The Vision provides a clear description of what it means to be a “Digital Service” and outlines the four areas of focus essential to making this vision a reality.
Acknowledging that space is the only physical domain without humans in place to conduct military operations, the digital vision document states “everything our operators experience is derived through data received from space and our ability to rapidly analyze that data to our advantage.”
The document goes on to describe how the characteristics of the space operating environment and the growing threat presented by near-peer competitors generate an imperative to undergo large-scale cultural and technical transformation.
“The establishment of the United States Space Force gave us a generational opportunity to create a Service purpose-built for a contested space domain,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond. “Moreover, we are in a unique position because of the global, data-driven nature of our mission to harness data and analytics across the enterprise and serve as a change agent for the entire Department of Defense.”
The Vision for a Digital Service is founded on three key tenets that provide a pathway to a faster, more innovative, and agile service designed to meet the unique demands of the space operating environment: an Interconnected, Innovative, Digitally Dominant force.
First, an Interconnected force effectively and efficiently shares relevant information with a broad array of stakeholders in support of the mission.
Second, an Innovative force routinely embraces new approaches and readily challenges the status quo.
Third, a Digitally Dominant force depends on people – establishing an empowered, digitally fluent workforce that advocates for innovation from every angle.
Informed by these tenets, the Vision for a Digital Service outlines four focus areas that serve as lines of effort for the necessary digital transformation Guardians must lead to achieve this vision:
Digital Engineering: The Space Force will foster an interoperable, resilient, and secure Digital Engineering Ecosystem (DEE) that will enable Guardians across the force to rapidly mature innovative concepts into integrated solutions and deliver critical warfighting capability faster.
Digital Workforce: The Space Force will attract, educate, develop, and retain the vital talent they need to cultivate digital fluency among all Guardians, and the USSF will equip and empower them to unleash their talent and energy toward bold, innovative solutions.
Digital Headquarters: This focus area refers to a function, rather than a location – it represents the ability for all Guardians to make decisions efficiently by removing layers of bureaucracy and enabling and incentivizing data-driven decision making.
Digital Operations: The Space Force will drive joint, all-domain solutions in, from, and to space, exploiting advantages provided by interconnected infrastructure and an innovative, digitally-fluent workforce.
The Digital Vision will be accompanied by a subsequent Transformational Roadmap product, which will delve into more detail and identify the key ongoing and planned actions required to make progress toward achieving the Vision. The roadmap is expected to be released in summer 2021.